ILLITERACY – A CURSE
Ignorant or illiteracy attains
Nothing – but only one thing
And that important thing is
Non-realization of life’s destination
Or purpose of our existence.
Through knowledge so gained with sincere self-efforts
Our body, mind and soul work in sync
Thereby have full understanding
Why we are here on this beautiful earth.
While illiteracy does not give us
Any leeway for course correction
When it is hugely needed.
Literarily, illiteracy means lack of knowledge or lack of information (information poverty in real sense of terms) or lack or less know-how on a variety of subjects without which a person remains uninformed or remains non-conversant with the current rate of information dissemination which has enveloped the world over with advent in information media.
ILLITERACY IN UNDER-DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Besides, it has been observed that Illiteracy is one of the main problems in less developed and under-developed countries globally due to handicaps of economic and social norms of behavior. There are people who do not send their children to schools since they are steeped in poverty, in ignorance and backwardness and perhaps do not understand the importance of education for their development. As the people are economically unsound, therefore, of necessity, they send their children to supplement the earnings of their families.
PEOPLE REMAIN ILLITERATE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE
Essentially, there are people who do not understand the actual need of knowledge, therefore, remain ignorant about new strides in knowledge. By not having knowledge, we cannot adjust or change as per the needs of the environment in which we are placed. In Bible it has rightly been said: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
ILLITERACY IN RURAL AREAS
As in rural areas in India, 70% of the people depend on the agriculture, the people consider the male child as the helping hand for their fields. Here education is considered as the handicap without any realization that with education the farmers would be able to know the latest technology, proper use of fertilizers and manure and other advancements which are taking place in agricultural field to enhance their produce. This way, the workforce could become a useful tool in dissemination of information and remove the poverty of information prevalent presently.
NON-ACCESIBILITY OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY & OTHER MODES OF CONNECTIVITY
In the present scenario, the advent of computers, net-connectivity, mobiles, print media, TV as the main medias of education have changed the outlook of the education scene. But all these are available only in the urban and semi-urban societies. Information poverty remains prevalent due to non-accessibility to these tools of education. All these handicaps puts paid to the spread of literacy in the inaccessibility of areas due to lack of communication connectivity issues.
ILLITERACY OF FEMALES
Then other bottleneck is the problem of drop outs. This is mainly due to the fact that the students are not able to bear the cost of schooling in private schools presently owing to job losses and business loses due to Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. With the exorbitant school fees, cost of books and added sundry expenditure which are entailed, forces the poverty ridden families to discontinue the educational pursuits of their children. The drop-rates are more pronounced in female children than males. It is because the parents nurture a viewpoint that the females, after they grow up, are married off and leave their homes for their in-laws. They do not know that if they educate a female, she helps educating the entire family – in fact one generation in real sense of terms.
It is understood that the first lesson of the child is In the lap of the mother. Therefore, the main aim of functional literacy is to educate the girl-child so that she gives right education including the traditional norms of behavior dear to the family and value system to the child in the initial stage itself.
Different slogans are coined for spreading education. These may be ‘each one, teach one’ but overall result of coined slogans remain paper oriented as these are not implemented in letter and spirit.
SPREADING LITERACY AMONGS ADULTS
Spreading education amongst adults is really a cumbersome task since they lack will to learn, have less motivation coupled with lack of incentives too are handicaps for their education. Mere teaching alphabets and arithematic is not sufficient. Now a day computing, artificial intelligence and other related topics should also form part of their efforts. The adults should be taught the society driven topics. In essence, they should know about the benefits of personal hygiene, how to keep sound health including the importance of Yogic exercises, general wellbeing, besides reading, writing, psychology of adjustment with the society etc. in other words the teaching should be such which enriches the mind and the soul and should help in enhancing the holistic development of the individual concerned. These steps should kindle interest and make their live happier, richer and healthier. For this to be reality, need is to adopt skill based technical education along with temper of ethical and moral development. For this, the teachers should also be educated with requisite experience in the field. Of necessity, if the adults remain illiterate, then, they will not be able to able contributor/partner to the progress of the country concerned.
SKILL TRAINING FOR LESS LITERATE
If we are serious about adult illiteracy from our midst the it is high time that we teach our children must be given some skill training along with academic pursuit so that those children who are not from rich background can earn while they learn to make the dream of education a real one and when they reach their adulthood, they would be able to be self-reliant and not be depend on others for their subsistence. It should also be kept in mind that those who are semi-literate or illiterate could be given training in plumbing, welding, household electricity fittings, etc. could be imparted to these people.
FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE PLAYERS FOR REMOVING ILLITERACY
If we have to eradicate illiteracy from our midst, it is necessary that Government and the private institutions should come forward and mutually render helping hand so as to make the dream of education a reality. In fact it is a long road for the distance to be reached but an honest effort could be made to achieve this end.
Illiteracy could be removed by the following steps:-
Girl-Child literacy. Funds should be allocated by the State and Central Government so that girl-child is given education. For this the parents should be made aware of the need for educating girls. This could also be done through holding of functions wherein debate competition and drawing completion should be conducted. Here the parents and the general masses should also be called. Prominent educationalists and leading leaders should give speeches highlighting the need for removing illiteracy of the girl-child. Suitable prizes too should be given to the participants.
Lesser drop-outs. Our all out concerted efforts should be for lesser drop-outs from the schools at primary stage itself. It should never be forgotten that when a student drops-out due to some reason, it adds to the population of adult illiterates which rather than being an asset becomes drag on national resources. It should always be kept in mind that main reason for drop-out is the financial crunch faced by the parents. The Government should provide financial succor to the parents so that they send their children to the school so that the aim of education is realized.
Realization that ignorance and illiteracy go hand-in-hand. People should know that ignorance or illiteracy is curse since an ignorant man is neither beneficial to himself nor to the family or nation when he grows up and not become dependent on others for his meeting his needs while he grows up. It must be realized that our life gets true meaning and purpose of life with knowledge gained; whereas illiteracy leads to lack of self-realization. In Bhagwad Gita, it has rightly been asserted: The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.
Connectivity and literacy. We are aware that non-accessibility of the connectivity (road and rail), non-availability of adequate computer literacy, net-connectivity and other medias become bottlenecks for spread of adequate literacy. Not only Government but the private players should also render helping hand to realize the dream of 100% literacy.